Fort Washington Park

The Daily Plant : Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"Daddy And Me Adventure" Continues With A Visit To The Little Red Lighthouse

Participants in the Daddy and Me Adventure toured the Little Red Lighthouse in Fort Washington Park on November 13.
Solita Alexander

On Saturday, November 13, New York City Parks & Recreation hosted its second monthly Daddy and Me Adventure, which featured a tour of the Little Red Lighthouse in Fort Washington Park. Nineteen dads and children from the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens attended the event.

The tour, led by Urban Park Ranger Gerry Seigler, introduced the group to an important yet little known landmark that holds particular significance for the children of New York City. The Lighthouse, also known as Jeffrey’s Hook Light, was made famous by the children’s book The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Grey Bridge, written by Hildegarde Swift and Lynd Ward in 1942. This classic tale captured the imaginations of children, many of whom collected pennies and wrote letters to help save the icon from the auction block in 1948.

The Daddy and Me group enjoyed the tour and seeing each other again after the program’s debut canoeing outing on the Harlem Meer on Sunday, October 24. Ranger Gerry was a big hit, giving thorough explanations, asking trivia questions, and awarding prizes. The highlight of the tour was when Ranger Gerry serenaded the group with a recorder solo at the top of the Lighthouse.

After the tour, Ronald, who was there with his son and daughter, expressed the general sentiment of the group in attendance. “I am here because I want to break the cycle,” he said. “There is an emotional and psychological lack that comes when the father is not around. I’m just so glad for this program. You can do things and be together and…[you] don’t have to worry about the cost.”

“Daddy and Me Adventure” is just one of the many things that Parks is doing to engage fathers to help them play a stronger role in their children’s lives—physically, emotionally, and financially. Over the summer, the Parks Opportunity Program launched “Dads to Grads,” an educational service to help young fathers prepare for the GED exam. Annika Holder, Assistant Commissioner of Public Programs, and Solita Alexander, Director of Employment Services for POP, serve as the agency’s liaisons on the Mayor’s fatherhood taskforce.

This eight-session outdoor adventure program, which began in October and will run through May 2011, is designed to provide unique bonding and engagement opportunities for fathers and their children. Over the next seven months, Daddy and Me Adventure will provide opportunities for hiking, fishing, orienteering, team-building games, and wilderness survival. Sessions are scheduled once a month during the weekend and run for approximately two hours. These sessions provide dads and their children an introduction to parks and outdoor recreational experiences, while offering structured activities that provide an opportunity for real connection. All activities are led by the Urban Park Rangers, a division of New York City Parks and Recreation. Daddy and Me Adventure will culminate with an overnight camping experience in Central Park in the spring.

Every weekend, the Urban Park Rangers offer similar family bonding opportunities through outdoor recreation programs at parks and nature centers throughout the five boroughs. Dads, indeed all family members, are encouraged to see Parks as a place for creating the kinds of memories and connections that last a lifetime. From hiking the John Muir Trail in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx to star-gazing through high-powered telescopes in Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn or wilderness survival in Forest Park in Queens, there are ample opportunities for reinforcing family ties while enjoying the great outdoors in New York City parks.

By Sarah Aucoin, Director, Urban Park Rangers

“I wrote my first novel because I wanted to read it.”
Toni Morrison
(1931- )

Directions to Fort Washington Park

Know Before You Go

ParkFort Washington Park

The Fort Washington Pedestrian Bridge, or "Amtrak Bridge," at West 180th Street is open to the public. The width of the bridge has been narrowed for safety reasons. Bikers will be asked to dismount their bikes to cross the bridge. An active capital project will fully repair the outer support structures of the bridge and restore it to its original width. Please visit our Capital Projects Tracker to track the progress of this project.


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